You’ll need the following to get the best out of your shooting day.
You need a shotgun certificate to own a shotgun, but not to use one. Try and carry your certificate with you. If the [police check, they can be funny if you don’t have it with you. But they will check you on the system anyway, so if you forget, don’t worry too much.
Historically there was a requirement under the Game Act 1831 (England and Wales) and the Game licenses Act 1860 (Scotland) to possess a game licence in order to kill, take or deal in game.
However this is no longer the case and such licences are no longer required in England, Wales, Northern Ireland and Scotland*.
Gun and slip
You won’t get far without your gun. And it’s best to carry it in a slip. The canvas and leather case, lined with foam, will protect your gun from knocks.
It’s a tragedy to run out of cartridges and it’s bound to happen when you’re having your best day. Take plenty and you won’t offend your host either by running out.
Protect your precious eardrums with a pair of ear plugs. Shooting makes a loud noise even if you don’t notice at the time. Some ear plugs block out the shot noise but let you still hear talking, if you’d rather not be taking them in and out.
A gun case is a bit more sturdy than your slip, if you have your gun in the boot of your car, or are carrying it on the train or even on a plane. It offers more protection if the gun is likely to get moved around during transportation.
Of course! Shooting is so much better with a dog. They can pick up the birds and keep you company. If you don’t have your own, beg, borrow or steal one.
Classic shooting essentials are a jacket, trousers and probably breeks. Breeks are an old-fashioned item, but hard to beat when you’re wading through mud all day. You’ll have far less soggy fabric than with a pair of trousers. Many wear tweed as the traditional choice but it doesn’t have to be. You need socks. But, go your own way in terms of tucking your breeks into them or not. A shirt and ties isn’t obligatory, but you’ll see plenty at the shoot. Check the level of formality with your shoot host.
Again, you’ll need a jacket and possibly breeks. You can choose elegant tweed or go for more of a waxed coat style. Matching your breeks to your jacket can look chic. Check the weather forecast beforehand and if need be, layer up with a warm base layer underneath your jacket. Wear some comfortable waterproof boots.
Now you’re ready to go. Just one final reminder, don’t forget your wallet or purse to tip the gamekeeper. You want to be invited again!
*In Scotland a Venison dealer licence is required from the council to buy, sell or trade venison.